In podcast #27, Jessica Lahey joined me to discuss her best-selling book, The Gift of Failure. The book is often regarded as a book about parents: helicopter, enmeshed, overinvolved. As Lahey points out, however, her book is about learning. It’s about designing the conditions whereby students can be successful. In other words, learning.
We all seem preoccupied with politics and the turmoil riling out of Washington, DC. This disruption has even impacted education. I’m as guilty as anyone for writing and exploring these ideas. When I listened to Lahey yesterday, it reminded me about the importance of focusing on students and their learning. And I must confess, it was a bit of an escape from all the serious, gut-wrenching discourse taking place.
But nothing is more serious than student learning. If students are encouraged to try new things and allowed to fail, they will learn more. If they are held accountable for their actions, they will ultimately succeed. Lahey has hit on an important insight that holds value for every teacher, school leader, and parent.
And she gives language to school leaders and teachers who are uncomfortable explaining rules to parents. When a school says, “No, you can’t drop off lunch” or to students, “Work is due on this date, no late work accepted” it can sound harsh. Parents will question the reason. Lahey articulates a rationale that supports efforts to build a culture of acocuntability.
Here is the link to the podcast on iTunes. Please subscribe to the podcast so new episodes will automatically download. The show is also available on Stitcher and Google Play. If you don’t have accounts with any of those content providers, here is the link to my basic page with the podcasts.